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For Sony’s “The Front Runner,” which opens wide Nov. 21, director-co-writer Jason Reitman dealt with a very large main cast. The opening shot sets the tone for the movie as it takes in multiple groups of people with different points of view and overlapping conversations. In Robert Altman-esque fashion, various dialogues fade in and out as the always-traveling camera follows Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman), his family, his political team, journalists and the public during the campaign of 1988 as it moves headlong into a sex scandal and its aftermath. While this creative approach makes for a mesmerizing experience for the audience, it presented unusual challenges for Reitman’s below-the-line team. Here’s what he said about the crew.
Sound mixer, Steven Morrow
Movie - Centers - Idea - Audience - Things
“Our movie centers on the idea ‘What is relevant? What is important?’ and the audience is often given multiple things to see and listen to. In terms of audio, our approach meant 10 to 20 people miked at a time, on a regular basis. A lot of Steve’s original production mix is in the final product, and that rarely happens in a movie. Just to watch him work the faders is magical. Steve was playing his mixer like a piano; he would bring the faders up and down, feeding us as we were doing it, pointing our ears in one direction, then another.
“Mostly in movies, the camera tells you where to pay attention, but in this movie, your ears tell you. The coffee shop sequence took half a day; it was complicated. It’s not just what you hear but how much. For one conversation about travel, Steve maybe has that at level 4; then a conversation about a press conference, that’s maybe 6; then Hugh [Jackman] and Vera [Farmiga, as Hart’s wife, Lee] talk on the phone and...
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